FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.


15 July 2008


Ascent Solar considers accelerating CIGS PV capacity ramp

At its annual shareholder meeting on 1 July, Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Littleton, CO, USA, which is developing copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic materials and modules, presented an update on its product development and manufacturing efforts, including the possibility of accelerating its production capacity ramp-up.

“Our strategy remains focused on developing strategic relationships, product development and certification, continual optimization of our manufacturing tools and processes, and expansion of production capacity,” says president and CEO Matthew Foster. The firm believes that product development activity with customers has benefited from the limited commercial production of prototypes, samples, and test materials from its 1.5MW production line.

“We continue to operate at low-rate initial production as we systematically perform trial runs to try to improve process repeatability, efficiency and yield, while simultaneously using product from these ongoing trials for multiple purposes including internal product certification testing, material characterization and testing, and numerous customer product developments,” Foster says.

Ascent Solar expects to start full-scale production on the 1.5MW manufacturing line by the end of 2008 with one-shift operation, and to start three-shift operation in early 2009. “The last half of 2008 will be a busy and challenging time,” says Foster. “In addition to increasing production, we hope to achieve product and manufacturing performance levels necessary to begin the product certification activities with independent testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein (TUV),” he adds. “Certifications from these independent parties are necessary to the deployment of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) product applications with our customers.” Regarding electronic integrated photovoltaic (EIPV) applications, Foster says, “Unlike BIPV applications, EIPV applications generally do not require the same level of product certification”. EIPVs therefore offer the potential to market products much more quickly than the typical six months or more for normal certification. “Consequently, we currently are working with customers in the hopes of introducing new EIPV products to store shelves during the fourth quarter of this year,” Foster concludes.

Ascent Solar has also completed the procurement orders for a significant proportion of the manufacturing tools for its 30MW production line, which is scheduled for completion in 2009 at the firm’s facilities in Thornton, CO. “We are trying to implement a systematic and realistic approach to expanding production capacity, including the prospects of possibly accelerating our existing production capacity timeline, which presently contemplates 110MW of aggregate production capacity by 2012,” says Foster.

Foster also said that the firm still expects to expand its operations abroad in the future, and is evaluating opportunities for production in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

*Also at the annual shareholder meeting, Dr Amit Kumar and Joel Porter were re-elected to serve until the 2009 annual meeting and Einar Glomnes and Dr Mohan Misra to serve until the 2011 annual meeting. Shareholders also approved the firm’s restricted stock plan and an amendment and restatement of its stock option plan.

See related items:

AFRL awards Ascent $1.5m multi-junction PV contract

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

Ascent Solar closes $61m public offering

Ascent Solar and Icopal cooperating on building-integrated PVs

Ascent to integrate CIGS PVs into roofing membranes for European market

Hydro raises stake in Ascent to 35%

Ascent’s 1.5MW PV production line enters operation

Search: Ascent Solar Thin-film multi-junction photovoltaics CIGS